The rapid growth of internet retailing can be seen by the fact that in 2014 internet retailing was the 20th channel in terms of value sales within retailing, whilst by 2018 it had reached 13th place. Double-digit annual growth is expected to continue in the forecast period.
As a relatively new channel, with a big base of potential customers that have not yet used or are just starting to use the channel, companies have to make a special effort to win their confidence, knowing that they need to create solid online shopping habits to sustain growth and create loyal customers. In many cases, online stores offer free delivery when consumers purchase goods to a certain value, which is attractive to consumers and an incentive to buy online.
Retailers keep updating their online stores – amongst them are Superama from Wal-Mart and warehouse club Costco – in an attempt to improve the customer experience in terms of ease of use, better access to product information, and options for order and delivery, such as shopping lists and the facility to select a delivery time. Superama also offers the option to buy online and collect at a store.
The leaders in internet retailing include big players such as MercadoLibre, Amazon, Walmart, Liverpool, Privalia and Linio. However, many other players are launching or strengthening their online operations.
Falabella, which owns a store chain based in Chile, acquired Linio in 2018. As part of the deal, Falabella will invest USD800 million to strengthen the e-commerce business in the region.
The competition amongst both established and recent new players in the market has become increasingly intense in internet retailing. The stronger competitive environment has led players to improve their service and the overall experience for customers, with improved logistics, wider inventories and faster delivery.
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